Camera Operators Elizabeth Lamb & Neil Griess
Recorded, 2019 - Published 2021
$15 an hour minimum still not enough
Higher education relies upon a steady stream of new enrollment. Research institutions thrive on low or unpaid labor extraction from a regenerating student body.
Students who have taken out tens of thousands of dollars in student debt have the added stress of preparing to pay back their loans upon graduation. Simultaneously, the institution's adjunct faculty, low-level staff, and short-term grant funded contract positions toil in the precariousness of unstable employment.
Debt has a controlling interest in higher education, wage stagnation maintains a system of exploitation among hourly laborers, live paycheck to paycheck while being crushed by debt. I add my name to a long list of those demanding the cancelation of student debt while drawing focus on an uneven power dynamic between students and administrators.
Control is maintained under the guise of academic decorum and professionalism. This structure falsely preys upon the physical and psychological states of a student. How students keep a sense of personal control and self-worth depends upon their perception of reality. A floor mat for comfort. A floor mat for control. A format for comfort. A format for control. A toll for comfort. A toll for control.
Debt is an archive, a series of transactions, and promissory notes. There is no comfort in debt. When debt takes control, there is a toll. Higher education is a privilege when it should be a human right.